How to choose the art major that’s right for you


Photo: Kelly Sikkema

So you are at university and you have decided to embark on an artistic career. And now? Selecting a study path can be difficult for anyone and requires careful consideration when considering your future career path. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of art specializations that cover almost any type of career you want to consider in the arts.

Whether you are already enrolled in an art school or want to orient your studies at a liberal arts college towards the creative world, there are different factors that need to be taken into account when deciding which art major is right for you. And while it may sometimes seem less clear than the path to becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer, a lot of the thinking is the same when making your choice.

Selecting an academic specialization is a very personal choice that depends on many different factors, and it is not always about the money. Understanding that no major is a sure-fire route to employment or success is the first way to reduce the stress of the situation. Careers come and go over time, and you may find yourself in a position that feels a long way from your initial education. And you can also see that employers in fields you hadn’t even thought about value your experience in the arts for the creative thinking it brings to the table.

As you can see, there is no simple answer as to what is good and what is not when it comes to choosing a major. There is only what is good for you. But, to help you make this important decision, we have presented different factors to consider before settling into your study program.

How can you select the best art major to prepare you for success in the career of your choice?

How to choose the right art major in college

Photo: Tim Gouw

Consider gaining potential

This factor is one that, unfortunately, often overshadows the rest. You’ll find tons of articles on which majors make the most money, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t see your chosen art major at the top of the list. While majors in business and STEM top the list, that doesn’t mean you won’t have earning potential if you choose a creative career path, and as we’ll see below, take advantage of that. what you do for a living should be given equal consideration. .

But, if we stick with the creative majors, there are a few that will give you the edge when it comes to high earning potential. According to Payscale, people specializing in graphic design and interior design dominate the list when it comes to high-paying positions earning six figures. Of the top 10 job titles, which range from creative director to visual designers, 7 have graphic design as the most common field of study. But it’s interesting that only 28% of people in these positions actually hold this major, proving that getting the job isn’t always based on what you study.

This differs slightly, however, when it comes to more specialized positions. Interior design, fashion design, and industrial design are also making their way to the top of the list. Here, more than half of the people working in the industry hold a specialized major. So, if you are interested in industrial design, interior design, or fashion, studying the right field is a huge plus.

And the beautiful artists? They rank 38th on Payscale’s earnings list, with just 18% of them having a studio art specialization, proving that you don’t necessarily need to have attended an art school to do career as an artist.

great crafts

Photo: Bru-nO

Follow your passion

This second consideration deserves as much weight, if not more than the artistic work that will pay the most. So many students choose a major based on their earning potential, to graduate and find themselves making a career change when they realize that they are unhappy with the job they are doing. It is essential that you ask yourself not only what excites you, but what you are good at. There are so many jobs that a Creative Major can prepare you for based on what interests you that you don’t need to feel limited to traditional positions. In fact, many artists forgo the traditional world of studio art for alternative careers that allow them to harness their creativity in unique ways.

How to choose the right art major in college

Photo: Štefan Štefančík

Here are some creative art specializations that you may want to consider based on your interests.

What turns you on …

  • Nature and environment? Landscape architecture
  • Working with children? Artistic education
  • Technology and gadgets? Game and interactive media design
  • Work with his hands? Industrial design
  • Media and entertainment? Motion graphics, Animation
  • Design and style? Textile design, Fashion design, Interior design
  • Social problems? Photojournalism, Art therapy
  • Company and organization? Arts Administration, Commercial Art

And if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy the career you’re thinking of, take advantage of your college’s internship opportunities to see what a day in the life looks like in your potential career. There’s no better way to see what works for you than to dip your toes in the water and gain first-hand experience.

How to choose the best major in art

Photo: Anna Kolosyuk

Still not sure what to do with an arts major? This infographic will help you understand the different career opportunities for artists.

Careers for artists

Image: Student’s art guide

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